Ward, Charles A. and Brooks Noel. Cemetery Data of Nueces County, Texas. Corpus Christi: Coastal Bend Genealogical Society, 1990
Photo Credit: Rosa G. Gonzales
Provenance: Larry Rettinger
3. News item, 1874
COL. JOHN M. MOORE
The election of Col. Moore to fill the unexpired term of Hon. P. F. Murphy will place in the Legislature a good citizen and an accomplished gentleman. Though not our first choice, we accept the verdict cheerfully. He will perform his duties as a legislator impartially and with ability.
On the Public School question, he knows, as a school officer, the deficiencies of the present law. And he will set himself at once to have enacted a real good school law. He is, as we have occasion to know, already engaged in preparation for that work. Willing and desirous to avail himself of the experience of the older States, he will let no party or prejudices influence him, but will begin at once and work hard to place this great interest of the State on the firm basis of successful working. If there is any longer any failure, it will not be the fault of Col. Moore. We know whereof we affirm, and are not mistaken in the man.
In all the departments of legislation he will be found the intelligent and courteous representative of his whole district. Because we did not vote for him we speak all the more willingly our convictions of his integrity and worth.
Source: Nueces Valley, November 14, 1874, p. 2, col. 2
Research by: Msgr. Michael A. Howell
Transcription by: Geraldine D. McGloin, Nueces County Historical Commission
John Marks Davenport Moore was born in Oglethorpe County, GA, March 21, 1811. He was the first and last of a family of ten sons. Two of his brothers were well known physicians in Alabama and another, George F. Moore, was for many years a prominent lawyer in Texas. Both of his grandfathers were among the very first officers commissioned by the Continental Congress. The greater part of his early life was spent in Virginia. When quite young he was sent to college. Here he showed a great partiality for chemistry and geology (a fondness which was characteristic of his future life). His education was often interrupted by his father sending him, when a mere boy, alone on horseback from one state to another to transact business which he considered of too great importance to trust to the mail facilities of those early days. Before he was 15 years old his father bought a plantation in Alabama and he, with a trusty Negro took charge of the moving, an undertaking which took them many weeks and one of which his father was justly proud.
When only 20 years of age he was married to Miss King of Marion, Ala., who, after a short and happy life, died at 18, leaving her husband a widower with one child at 21. At this time he left his home and friends and roamed all through Texas and Mexico and did not return to Alabama for several years. In ’34 he went into the ______tile business with M.C. Conklin, and in ’36 was married to Miss Harriet Conklin. He was for a number of years one of Alabama’s wealthiest and most influential citizens, giving largely of his time and means to every public enterprise for the benefit of his state. He was a man of a good deal of family pride, feeling that on that score he could compare records with any; but “if proud, his consciousness of gentleman-like behavior was but shown in his strictness of gentleman-like conduct.” He was a typical Southern gentleman, and was always courteous to the poorest as to the richest. His Christian heart beat in love and sympathy for “all men everywhere”. As a master the love that existed between himself and his servants, or “folks” as he preferred terming them was proverbial. He never bought many in his life, they coming to him by inheritance. Among those he did buy was a blind man who begged him to buy him. Another who was considered a worthless fellow and known in those days as a “runaway-Negro”. His whereabouts was actually not known at the time of the sale; but there was one who had faith in the poor fellow and that one he did not disappoint, as the Negro in a few weeks, hearing of his new master, reported himself to him and was ever after a faithful servant. He also bought a woman for the wife of a favorite servant whom his grandfather had given him when they were both boys but three months old. This man with his wife now sleeps near him in his last resting place. One of the saddest scenes in his life was the parting at a time of trouble, from 30 of his strong, brave men. As they marched up one by one to bid him good-bye, with tears flowing from their eyes, they exclaimed, “bear up, Marse John; we’ll pull you through this trouble.” He owned at one time a plantation in Mississippi and was a leading man and an honored member of the legislature from that state. Over 40 years ago he owned large iron works near Birmingham, Ala. Here he made and shipped the first iron that was sent from Alabama to Pennsylvania. He had experts come out and teach his Negroes and he himself went on and studied the work scientifically. He told them then that he expected to see slavery abolished, and that they would then would come to Alabama for their iron. A friend of many years said that “he lived at least 50 years ahead of the times”. In ’55 he was president of the Alabama Coal and Mining company. His long and noble life was eventful in the extreme. Its varying course ran through many changing scenes of prosperity and adversity; but this he bore with calmness and cheerfulness that was wonderful to those who knew and loved him. No misfortune or adversity seemed strong enough to take his hopefulness and energy from him. Among his papers now are the proofs of his having paid large amounts for security debts, some of which he could legally have been freed from; but conscientiously could not and he paid them. He has had some of the most thrilling events and narrow escapes from death. When far down in some old mine, the lamps had gone out leaving him to grope his way in lonely darkness. In another instance the wood work above the mine was all burnt and he was left with only a pole for support 50 or 60 feet from the bottom of the mine. These things never seemed to affect his courage or nerve in the least as he was just as ready to go in again. When quite advanced in age he has spent days in walking over the mountains of Texas ___________ impossible to reach him on horseback ever hopeful of striking something that would bring back the “fickle goddess of fortune” to him. Many years ago he saw the great possibilities of this section, and the advantage that deep water would be to it, and in ’58 or ’59 began opening the channel, an undertaking that cost him a great deal of money and disappointment. He never lost his interest in the great questions of the day; either political, commercial or religious. He would read for hours after he was 81, the finest print without glasses.
A letter from an almost life-long friend, written since his decease to a member of his surviving family has this to say of his high Masonic standing and character. “Of his Masonic life I happen to know much. He was an ardent zealous Mason. He was recognized as the highest Mason in our part of the state and was one of the most distinguished and esteemed in the entire state of Texas. He was not merely familiar with the forms and ceremonials of Masonry, but he had studied and thoroughly understood its symbolism. It was this which captivated and enthused him. It was in full accord and harmony with his own human and noble spirit.
To give a complete and exhaustive view of the life and character of Col. J. M. D. Moore in an article like this is impossible. Few biographies faithfully written, would contain more of human interest, more of true nobility of character, more of unselfish regard for others, more and greater reverses of fortune with unquestioned integrity and manly endurance through them all, more of public spirit and unflagging zeal in every good work, and more of the rarer qualities which mark the highest and purest forms of human character. His Christian faith was immovable, and he bore with him to the last all the unclouded hopes and blessed consolations which religion can bring to a long life of unfaltering faith and trust and of unselfish devotion to the interests of his fellowman. The world has few such gentle, kindly, stainless and noble characters and when they are called away we feel an irreparable loss. A Friend.
Source: Corpus Christi Caller, September 16, 1892